Now that we are past being up to our sleigh bells as yet another Christmas holiday season fades into the distance, I thought it would be a wonderful time for quiet reflection. Earlier today for instance, I simply stopped what I was doing. I took a deep breath of the crisp winter air.
The whistling wind enveloped me, and I was transported back to a dozen different Christmas memories. I saw faces from my past, faces of family and friends who have gone on ahead to their reward. Other faces were of those that have aged in the intervening years but here they appeared younger, full of the vigor that I remembered so vividly. I could have dwelt in that wonderful land of memories forever. However, the horns of the insensitive cars from the two lanes of traffic that I had been blocking rudely broke my reverie.
What is it about Christmas? Oh sure, I know the real reason for the season: getting trivial inconsequential items for disinterested unappreciative acquaintances. But beyond that? Well, I know that my Amazon wish list is no big secret and any item received by me would be greatly cherished and honored.
Enough of the shameless begging for non-essential items on my wish list! Let me sally forth and forthly sally and dig into some of the irritating ideas I’ve noted about the holidays that failed to make it into my holiday newsletter. This should not only be cathartic but might just possibly also waste your time as well as mine. After all, it isn’t as if I have a great idea for this post to begin with and this bandwidth won’t waste itself, right? With that being said, let’s dive right in with something quite controversial!
LED projectors have taken the art of outdoor home decorating to a new level. And no, it isn’t a nice level that is trending in an upward direction. In fact, let’s just say that it is looking up at Dante’s Inferno and wondering if it will ever be able to reach up to touch the bottom there. I can readily answer: “No, it never will.” Christmas LED projector owners have only insidious leafblower owners below them and the gap is shrinking.
I kinda sorta understand the convenience, if I squint, but that is all these glorified laser pointers are good for in the long run. You LED owners are just flat out lazy, just admit it. There’s plenty of 1995 Pink Floyd tour footage so your dinky light show is superfluous. Do you understand that you are making the guy that just puts out a white spotlight on a wreath look like an electrical wizard in comparison? Get out your extension ladder, grab your gutter clips, and dust off those plastic reindeer, and get some real decorating done, you lethargic bums!
Do we really need another filmed version of “A Christmas Carol”? Ever? No, seriously. I’m asking. Again, as this is my post, I can assuredly answer my own question: “No, we don’t. Not ever. Film something else that has fallen into public domain and decrease the surplus population of holiday Dickens adaptations, you noncreative baboons!” Starting with the correct hypothesis that 1984’s A Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott as Scrooge, is the bestest and superiorest version ever made, we soon see that other versions fall short in comparison.
Even the best runners-up kind of stink. The version from 1938 is far too short to ever dig into the material and the DVD packaging looks like it had a bigger budget than the film itself. For some reason the 1951 entry is held in high regard, but Alistair Sim is the whiniest Scrooge ever. His performance does its damnedest to derail all the fine character actors that are truly giving it their best shot.
There’s the Muppet version with Michael “Hey, I love paychecks!” Caine that has its fans and the Patrick Stewart version that suffers because I can’t picture Picard being that much of a cruel skinflint. The Disney one that brought us Scrooge McDuck is thankfully short and the Looney Tunes one is even shorter. The Zemeckis one exists and that’s about it about that one. The only one for my dollar that comes a smidge close to the 1984 version is 1988’s Scrooged with Bill Murray. However, even that one falls apart because I enjoy seeing Bill being a prick more than a redeemed soul. (But be sure to check out an incredible post on this very site on Scrooged by me that is just incredible!)
And yes, there are many other iterations that are not worth mentioning, even in passing. George C. Scott wins outright, and Charles Dickens should sue to get the rights back to prevent further adaptations.
Neil Diamond has released five Christmas albums. Yes, five of them, folks. I know that when you heard this, you thought the exact same thing I did: “Why hasn’t he done more?!” There’s several hundred different Sinatra Christmas compilation albums and the Elvis holiday discs number in the trillions. So, try something different this holiday season! Give the The Diamond Cutter a cherry, cherry chance, will you?
Speaking of music, I came upon a song while I was trapped in a Hallmark store with my wife. After testing out the prohibitively expensive candle scents, my ears perked up and caught the Christmas tune playing inside. The song was “Mary, Did You Know?” The tune was pleasant enough, I suppose, but the lyrics took me aback so quickly that I had to place the Mushy Roadside Gutter Snow scented candle down for fear of shattering it amongst the Snoopy vs. Darth Vader ornaments.
I’m sure the composers meant well, and the song has been rerecorded constantly every year since 1993. But allow me to answer the question that is posed by the title and repeated incessantly throughout the song: “Yes, Mary did know all these things, you doorknob!”
You see, she had an angel come right up to her and tell her that she was going to be with child and that “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Not much mystery there. So yeah, Mary knew all about this because the Bible tells me, and for that matter everyone else, so.
When Mary went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was pregnant with the unborn John the Baptist, the child leapt in Elisabeth’s womb when he heard Mary’s name. Then Elisabeth spoke about how blessed Mary was. Mary also witnessed the heavenly host and shepherds praising God when Jesus was born. Then Simeon praised the baby. There were those wise men who also came with gifts and praise. With all that slight evidence, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I think Mary had a pretty good inkling of a notion at that point exactly who her son was and what he was going to be.
The larger discovery is that I never thought a worse Christmas song would supplant the hated “The Little Drummer Boy” in my personal distaste meter, but yes, the reality is that Mary did know, and I know that this song truly bites. (Point of order: only Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is a worse Christmas song. No, it is. Truly. (Get off of Mariah, it is Paul that sucks.) In fact, it is not only a worse Christmas song, it is one of the worst works ever created in recorded history. And most amazingly, it might not even be the worst song that Paul ever created. The mind boggles.)
Well, hopefully this cluster of random irritations makes your season even brighter! Gosh, it just makes me want to hear yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like native Inuit people! I’m going to have yet another glass of egg nog and finish roasting some chestnuts. Oh, and I’ll get over into the right lane because I seem to have drifted over into the passing lane yet again during my holiday pontifications above. Oh, well! Merry Christmas!